Wednesday, January 25, 2012



As I was making the bed a while back God impressed upon me that I was the lucky one (as in the definition meaning "favored one") . Grief longed to consume that morning; the impression had been preceded by many tears, prayers, and waiting for strength to start the day. As the tears continued, the blessings that come with suffering began: I realized that I can't even get out of bed in the morning without the thoughts of heaven and eternity; I can't begin my day without coming to terms with God; I no longer consider my days my own, let alone my dreams, ideas, or my very life, but wait for God's leading.

"Lucky" is having your eyes opened to God, no matter the cost.

I spoke to a young man the other day about Jesus. My walls had been built high and strong, and I had vowed there would be no break in them for my own protection, but then this young father broke all protocol and walked over to where I stood alone. After the small talk, I asked the all important question, "How's your walk with God?"

We've all learned the game, the game of Sunday smiles and every body's saved; life will go on forever anyway and there's always tomorrow to ask and decide. But life doesn't go on forever, and tomorrow may never come. The facade of the game is shattered, and I can't stomach the rules of it any longer. A bit of digging revealed the truth, to both of us. Game over. Now truth can begin, truth can be said, fears are revealed, honesty is given words, genuine prayers can be lifted for a brave man who is walking the line of no decision being a decision that one day he will wake up to the realities of.

I talked to a mother a while back. She wondered how you get to where I am; I wanted to ask her where it is that I am. Please tell me, because I don't always know.

Where I am is clinging to God. Where I am is battling, moment to moment, for grace to believe, to trust, to hold-on. Fighting for breath, literally; fighting for reality; fighting to see beyond this world to a sovereign God who holds it all in His hands, including me. Where I am is on my knees, begging for strength. Where I am is in the Bible, constantly repeating the words and promises, trusting in them. Where I am is looking intently for God's glory, now as well as future. Where I am is believing in the One who gives and takes away. Where I am is waiting for Jesus to return and make this all right; waiting for the curse to be lifted and for the tears to be wiped away.
As the tears flowed down her face, all I could ask her was if she trusted God with her teen-age son's life. That's all that I'm doing; that's where I am.

I have been reading Uncle Tom's cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. When I remembered part way through that the little girl dies I almost quit reading, but I am so glad that I have continued. As much as the book is about the atrocity of slavery, it really is a testimony of the gospel at it's core. After Eva's death, the author says:

"Thine is the victory without the battle - the crown without the conflict."

Some battles are won even before they are fought; other battles continue for years. I think of Trent's short life: he was a child his whole life, he never tasted of the cares and concerns of adult trials, or battled the battle's of years worth of sins. His was the "crown without the conflict".

I realized the other day that I could potentially live another 50 years . . . waking up every morning for another 50 years to fight for the victory of this battle. I thought of the blip of our lives on the screen of eternity. How would you even begin to measure eternity? And where would 12 years, 50 years, even 88 years fall on that line? In the grand scheme of things, isn't it the other side of eternity that matters? Isn't it where we are on that side that we should be more concerned about rather than our short time here?

Another line from the book was said by Eva's father, St. Clare, shortly after his daughter died. He had been indifferent to the gospel his daughter continued to share with him, until he had to come face-to-face with who this God was and what eternity held. He said, "I am braver than I was, because I have lost all; and he who has nothing to lose can afford all risks."

Eleven months ago I held on to this world and it's trinkets with a tight grip; I have been forced to let go. Actually, it was God's mercy that released my grip; it was a direct answer to prayers that Rob and I had been praying for right before the accident. Prayers for God to wake us up to Him; prayers to draw us closer, to know Him deeper, to live our lives for Him, to use our son in a mighty way for the gospel. We are braver now, because we have lost all. We see eternity clearer now, we see God clearer now, we see our short days clearer now and are counting the cost of how we live them. There is nothing in this life left to lose; we can afford all risks that hindered us before from trusting God, knowing God, telling others about God.

St. Clare asked Uncle Tom at one point, "How do you know there's any Christ, Tom? You never saw the Lord."

"Felt Him in my soul, mas'r - feel him now!" was Tom's reply.

I feel Him in my soul; feel him now. I long for the day I will see Him with my eyes; see what Trent see's; know what Trent knows. Fifty more years here does not thrill me; the sooner I see my Savior face to face the better.

Second Thessalonians 1:10 says that those who have believed will marvel at Jesus when He comes in His glory. Marvel at Him. First Peter 1:5 says that God Himself is a shield through faith. As the waves of grief consume, the panic attacks, grasping for breath, flashbacks of hospitals and policemen, I envision that shield of God Himself surrounding me. The enemies arrows are poised and thrown, but the shield of God protects. I hold on to God's grace that He continues to give; His eternal encouragement and good hope (2 Thes 2:16). Eternity is where my eyes are focused; eternity is what I continue to look forward to.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character;
and character, hope.
And hope does not disappoint us,
because God has poured out His love into our hearts
by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
Romans 5:2b-5

The camp called yesterday and left a message asking if Trent might want to come to the youth retreat in February. I know . . . just let that sink in for a bit. Just another goofy grief thing that seems to never end. Umm, no, Trent won't be able to make it this year, he has better plans. I laughed, I banged my head on the table, and then I cried. A book will be in the mail soon . . .

It's been a week of "haunting"~ making enchiladas for movie night again, pulling into the grocery store parking lot just as an exact snowmobile-coat-clad-patron walked by, vivid dreams, the ushering in of the "seconds" with the birth of the new goats. I figured once the firsts were over we'd be on the easy side of grief; I guess I was wrong.

Cole tripped on the china hutch yesterday, which refreshed more eleven month old memories. The day before the accident Trent had been running through the dining room, tripped on the leg of the hutch, the door flew open and out came crashing down numerous long-stemmed glasses that we use for our fancy birthday suppers. He was going to tell me and apologize the next day. I never got around to making any fancy birthday suppers the past year to realize they were missing.

My brain has refused to think this past week: complete overload. So I let it rest, and I rest, and I function on auto-pilot to keep cooking, and doing chores, and raising kids, and waiting for eternity to begin. Words could barely even break through as the balm that they usually are. I stayed where God had me; I trusted His leading. I indulged in ignoring the computer; I indulged in loving my kiddos; I indulged in letting life be simple.

This morning God led me to the Romans passage to wrestle again with suffering, hope, joy, glory. My brain doesn't understand justification through faith leading to peace with God at this point. My brain just wants to stay fuzzy in it's vitamin D lacking winter hibernation: sometimes it feels safer there.

But on my knees I know this God; this God of big words and bigger truths. I long for this God, to really know Him, and realize that suffering is a huge part of it.The suffering is what causes us to look for hope.

It's a grasping at this point; barely holding on by the fingertips as I strive to live moment to moment some days, but it's still there: hope. Hope in the glory of God, hope in the glory yet to be revealed, hope in an eternity to see it clearly. Hope worth rejoicing in, even in the suffering.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Finding God in the Goat Barn

Dixie is our goat herd matriarch. She is older, and is carrying a huge belly right now as kidding season is about to begin. She is pretty pathetic looking as she only has half an udder, and that teat hangs nearly to the floor at this point, as we were naive goat farmers when we bought her all those years ago and didn't know a good udder from a bad one. I promised her I won't breed her next year, poor thing, and will keep her forever no matter what our farm motto states. But she loves being a momma, so I couldn't deny her one last opportunity to try for pretty spotted babies before we sold that handsome buck.

I was crooning to her last night, and petting and kissing her, and crying to her about no Trent to sit with us at delivery time this year. I had to rub her back for the both of us. Constantly I remind myself that this is God's battle; He will come out victorious. Maybe in eternity there will be goat farms and sons to sit by again without the fear of death. Even if heaven was only that, it's all it would take to make me happy forever.

I was reading in Hebrews 12 about the thousands upon thousands of angels in assembly in the city of the living God, and about the great cloud of witnesses that surround us watching what God is doing. Watching for how He will cause His children to persevere in this race that He has marked out for us. This race that is so hard. Once again, I fixed my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, and set before myself the joy of the cross that makes enduring this all possible.

Because of the cross I am forgiven, because of the cross Trent is in heaven, because of the cross I will be able to be presented before God holy and blameless, because of the cross I call myself a stranger here in this world, because of the cross my Heavenly Father disciplines me for my own good so that later on a harvest of righteousness and peace will be produced.

Lord willing, I will not refuse this God, but will look forward all the more to His heavenly kingdom that cannot be shaken.

Even if that means right now it hurts, and I cry and cry and cry. But I have found freedom in the tears; a sweet fellowship with Jesus that I have never known so deep before. I guess God will bottle up tears cried to goats, too.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ice Skating

Ice skating ~ it's one of the highlights of a Wisconsin winter. And 40 degree January days only make ice skating sweeter. The kids dug through the bin of garage-sale skates that we have had for years and years and claimed a fitting pair to own for the season. Rob checked and gave the "okay" for the ice safety, and off they went~ twirling and swirling, whooping and chasing.

I joined them today to take the obligatory 200 pictures of every newly created memory that none of us will ever want to forget. The "martha" that I am, I also picked up the shovel and helped clear the snow off the ice. And I cheered everybody on, and I watched the greatest ice-skating tricks that I've seen since last winter, and laughed and hugged and smiled and enjoyed my kiddos.And missed Trent. And thought of last year. And tried to live now.

Life is tainted when a child dies. No matter what you do, it's always with you. The pain sneaks in along with the memories; the hope of heaven sneaks in, too. There is no more contentment with today, but always looking back or looking forward. Maybe because the today is too painful. Or maybe the pain goes away eventually: but then do the memories go away, too? How can a mother want to enjoy the rest of her life without her child? I don't know . . . just rambling; thinking out loud; working my way through this process.

And then I watched Micah slide down the dock, thought "what a crazy, wild kid!" And then I asked him for a turn on the sled and went down the dock myself, off the jump, and slid all the way across the pond into the cat-tails ~ screaming for joy all the way ~ because life is short and I'm still here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Two Plus Two Equals God

If what Scripture says is true: "Those who call on the name of the Lord {Jesus} will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

And: "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:8)

Then: My son is with God.



My son is with God.

And, if my son is with God, then I need to decide what to do with this God that my son is with. I need to figure out how to live the rest of the short days that I have on this earth until I meet this God. I get to quit crying, quit hurting, quit whining . . . because my son is with God.


Trent knows what God looks like. He knows what Jesus' face looks like; what the nail holes and the scar on His side looks like; what His robe looks like; what heaven looks like; what Jesus' glory looks like; what the angel's look like; what the throne looks like.

What I can't imagine, Trent knows. He is with God . . .

With God.

Yet somehow my days still need to consist of feeding goats and choosing what's for supper, and ultimately trying to figure out how to glorify God in all of it.

I stand in awe: Trent is with God.

Monday, January 2, 2012

What I Found on the Floor

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
for my expectation is from Him.
Psalm 62:5 (NKJV)

What I found lying on the bedroom floor, crying and broken, was everything that I had tried to stuff too deep. I found the pain that I refused to feel, the burdens that I had carried too long, the pride that I thought I was entitled to, the fears that I couldn't manage, the release that could only be found at the foot of Christ's cross. I found the freedom to live exposed. Exposed to myself, exposed to others, exposed to God Himself. I felt my smallness; and eternities greatness. I realized that when it comes right down to it, all that really matters is the state of my soul before God. Am I obedient, am I seeking, am I trusting, am I surrendering? Is Jesus glorified? Or am I still glorifying myself; ultimately putting myself in His position? Have I let Him be God? Have I surrendered to His sovereignty? Have I quit kicking and fighting and writhing under His ways? Have I yielded my personal rights and expectations to God? Have I truly yielded them to accept being shattered? Again . . . today . . . fighting the good fight.